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12 January 2011

Andy Reed - Consultant

Andy Reed - Consultant

After 13 years as Member of Parliament for Loughborough (1997-2010), Andy Reed  is now a consultant to charities in the sport and faith sectors and carrying a ‘portfolio lifestyle’. His CV now has about 15-20 activities on it! Much of it is unpaid but great fun.

Brought up in Leicestershire and educated there, Andy did a Public Administration Degree at Leicester De Montfort University where he graduated in 1987. He worked for local authorities in economic and urban regeneration for nine years before being elected to the Commons in 1997.

His passion is rugby. He still plays for his local club where he is also President and turns out for the House of Commons Rugby Union and Rugby League sides in charity games. He has played at Twickenham six times with three tries!

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I had no idea and still don't know what to do when I grow up! Being an MP never felt like any normal job. My current portfolio lifestyle doesn't feel like a 'job' either. My assessments at school suggested I would be a tank driver or museum curator. Shows what those tests knew!

I did a Public Administration degree thinking I would serve in the civil service or local government as an act of service to my local community. In a selfish money-orientated world that now sounds so strange and very worthy doesn't it?

How did you get involved in politics?
I got involved in politics because of my faith and the message of social justice contained in the Bible. I got increasingly frustrated as a teenager with the lack of action in the 'Church' to act, not just believe, on social justice and poverty issues. Now I am able to combine both passions and join up politics and Christians who live out their faith.

Best and worst thing about politics?
Best bits were having a national voice to affect change. Worst bit was being away from my family at home in the constituency most weeks and being the property of everybody else even when I was home!

Is there life after an election defeat?
Certainly - in fact I am really enjoying myself now with the freedom. I believe God used me for my time in politics but after 13 years 'training' is now using me in my new role. I have combined my passion for sport with sitting as an Independent Board member of some governing bodies and working with some sports charities. At the same time I am working with Evangelical Alliance, the Bible Society in China and the World Evangelical Alliance across the world to help improve engagement in the public square. It doesn't get much better than this and working from home too!

Who or what inspires you?
Selfless acts of love inspire me. I have met lots of world leaders and yet the missionary I met in Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan with Interserve stands out for me. People like Margaret inspire me. Being a political leader is easy compared to a genuine sacrificial life serving the poor.

What do you enjoy most in your consultancy role to sports bodies, social enterprise and charities?
Being able to help them get the best outcomes for their work. I only work for people I have a passion for myself - I couldn't work for organisations I don't believe in personally. So it doesn't feel like work. It feels I am making an impact. Hence the name ofour company-SajeImpact. It stands for Sarah, Andy, James & Emily impacting on the world.......the measure of my definition of success. Adding to community wellbeing.

What would you do with a million quid?
After doing 'Simplify' with the Evangelical Alliance last year - after a journey of trying to get rid of 'affluenza' I know we don't need that sort of money to live on! So I would probably set up the charity I am launching called B-engaged to help Christians across the world to engage in politics. That feels like a good long term investment in changing the world...

What is your dream for society?
Without sounding corny - one based on peace and harmony. Mostly it is a society based around relationships and human flourishing. If we all genuinely 'loved our brother as ourselves'imagine what that would look like!

If you were invited to give a TED lecture, what would be the topic?
"Creating the Political Will to End Global Poverty"

What makes you angry?
Poverty - injustice and inequality. Any human being not being given the dignity of being created equal in God's image. People who sit by and let it happen or criticise from the comfort of our western capitalist countries. I get angry at racism and fascism and stigmatising the poor.

What do you invest in the next generation of political hopefuls and social entrepreneurs?
I am mentoring and speaking wherever people will have me about the role of Christians in politics, all over the world not just in the UK. Good governance is the best long term investment in alleviating poverty in developing countries and we need Christians involved.

I am launching a charity to help this work - B-engaged. I have support from Christian parliamentarians as well as many Christian leaders who recognise its importance. We aim to mentor, pray for and train young Christians to get involved in politics across the world. We then will support and network Christian parliamentarians globally to work together.